Posted on: July 20, 2012
Your first day in a new job……it can smack of being the new girl/boy at school, of having to balance giving a good first impression to your new boss and fitting in with your new colleagues, new surroundings and new routines.
In this post experienced career coach Michelle Bayley gives us her advice for making a good impression…
“You know you’re going to meet people whose names you’ll probably forget and be told so much information that by the end of the day you’ll feel like you’ve swallowed an encyclopaedia’s worth of detail. All this, and there’s part of you that just wants to know where the toilets/lifts/coffee machines are and be left alone in a quiet corner to take everything on board.
So, whether you’re moving to a new organisation or to a new part of your existing workplace, what can you do to stop “newbie stress” in its tracks? How can you create that good first impression?
- Show that you’re interested both in the people you meet and in what they’re saying to you. People can instinctively tell when you’re interested and they respond positively to it. You’ll find that with most people it generates a virtuous circle and they’ll be more interested in you too.
- Remind yourself to be “in the moment”. Focus on what’s happening as it happens. Too often, we stop ourselves from concentrating by listening to internal mind chatter about what’s coming up next or something that’s just happened. When your mind wanders, just notice that’s what it’s done and come back to the present as quickly as possible.
- Dress to fit in. It might sound superficial but we all know that people make snap decisions based on what someone’s wearing. So part of making a good first impression is about wearing clothes that are the norm for wherever you’re working – whether it’s a sober looking suit or something quirky that says “I’m creative”. You don’t have to kill off your individuality completely, but you’re more likely to be accepted by the majority of your colleagues if you broadly conform to their dress code.
- Think about your body language. So much is written about body language these days that people are more switched on about “reading” it and spotting tell tale signs of it in others. If you’d rather be somewhere else your feet will give you away by literally pointing away from the person you’re talking to, and if you’re feeling impatient your pen will start tapping away on the table – unless you become aware of what’s going on and stop it. But it’s obviously not just about managing those tell tale signs, it’s about using it positively too. A good posture and firm handshake will tell others you’re confident (even when you aren’t feeling 100% self-assured!)
- Think about what you want to get from your first day. Rather than seeing your first day as a one way street, where lots of people download information onto you, ask yourself what you want from it. You might want to get as clear as possible about what your boss and others (such as internal customers or your team) are expecting of you. Think about what will help you to do as good a job as possible in the weeks ahead and ask questions that will help root out relevant information.”
Michelle Bayley is an experienced life and career coach who balances running her own consultancy – Find Your Way Coaching – with a role as joint director of communications for a Government agency.